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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2013 Jan;22(1):75-84. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2012.3666.

Arterial stiffness and related variables across menopausal status: an epidemiologic study.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.



To determine if postmenopausal women have different arterial stiffness, blood pressure (BP) values, or metabolic patterns in comparison to fertile women and to men at a population level.


This is a population-based epidemiologic study of 1853 representative men and women aged 18-95 years. Clinostatic humeral BP was measured using Omron 705CP. Aortic BP, augmentation index (AI), and pulse wave velocity (PWV) were determined using applanation tonometry. Body mass index (BMI) and subscapular skinfold thickness were used as measures of adiposity. Fasting and postload blood glucose, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA), low-density and high-density lipoprotein serum cholesterol (LDL-C and HDL-C) and triglycerides were assessed.


Age was higher in postmenopausal women than in fertile women (68.8 ± 9.5 vs. 35.7 ± 10.2 years, p<0.001), and BMI was 16% higher (p<0.01) in the postmenopausal women after age adjustment. Humeral and aortic BP, carotid and radial AI, carotid-femoral PWV, BMI, LDL-C, LDL-C/HDL ratio, triglycerides, glucose tolerance, HOMA, and skinfold thickness were apparently higher in postmenopausal than in fertile women. Using multivariate analysis, however, all these differences were abolished after adjusting for confounders (age and, when appropriate, BMI), except for LDL-C, which remained 19% higher (p<0.01) in postmenopausal women than in fertile women after adjusting for many confounders (age, BMI, cholesterol, ethanol intake, caloric intake, and triiodothyronine).


Only LDL-C increases in postmenopausal women, whereas other differences attributed to menopause, including BP and arterial stiffness, seem to be confounding effects of age and BMI.

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